October is here, and that means it's time for all the ghouls and ghosts to come out of their shells. But what better way is there to spend Halloween than to huddle around a table with some close friends while exploring the world of Dungeons and Dragons? Sure, horror campaigns aren't always the easiest to run, but they can be a wonderful time for those looking to take a break from the typical adventures. So, here are the best campaigns for those wanting something a little spooky.
The Haunt is one of the most popular horror campaigns out there and would be a perfect addition to any Dungeons and Dragons session in October. It follows players as they try to unravel the mysteries of Montarthas Manor, a haunted house that also boasts treasure for those that dare enter it. Plus, it's a one-shot, so players should be able to knock it out in a single night. If that's not enough, the author has also released The Haunt 2, a follow-up adventure that expands on the story and can also be played as a one-shot. The two of them would make for an excellent weekend of spooky Dungeons and Dragons, though they can prove to be quite the challenge.
Curse of Strahd
For those looking for something with a lot more meat, there's Curse of Strahd, considered by many to be one of the best D&D campaigns of all time. In Curse of Strahd, players journey to Castle Ravenloft to take on Count Strahd von Zarovich, a vampire. Strahd is one of the better villains from published campaigns, making the campaign worth checking out. Players will definitely want to get started now, as Curse of Strahd will take the typical group months to beat. That being said, there are conversions to turn it into a one-shot, for those that want to play it just for Halloween. What makes Curse of Strahd unique is the Tarokka Deck, a set of cards that randomize a few game elements. It's a nice way to add in some wild cards and liven up the play.
Return To The Tomb of Horrors
Tomb of Horrors isn't that scary. It's simply intended to try and kill players every step of the way. Return To The Tomb of Horrors, on the other hand, expands on the narrative, making it a fair bit more creepy and sprinkling in some dark Dungeons and Dragons secrets. It's a mini-campaign, so it may not be the best for a single night of play, and it still isn't going to be the scariest out there. Still, with some clever descriptions from the Dungeon Master, players should still feel a little creeped out. It's built for older editions and is still a deadly campaign, so it may be wise to have a few backup characters just in case.
Happy Jack's Funhouse
For those still hopped up on It Chapter 2, Happy Jack's Funhouse will provide an experience with clowns, funhouses, and children's laughter. The premise is interesting, as the clown, Jack, is less of a supernatural threat than It's Pennywise, but at the same time incredibly creepy. Plus, the adventurers have quite a few opportunities to change the story, as is the nature of Dungeons and Dragons. A Dungeon Master can also put their own spin on the game making it a unique experience every time.
Creating a Custom Campaign
Designing a D&D campaign can be challenging, but it's also very rewarding. Horror campaigns are a particularly difficult challenge, as it takes a lot of practice to be able to set a tone that's truly terrifying. But, with practice and some inspiration from pop culture, it's possible to craft a horror campaign that will leave a party of adventurers shaking. To complete the illusion, throw in the soft sound of children laughingm some creepy music, and some candlelight. It'll all come together to really sell the experience. It may not be as easy as finding a pre-written campaign, but it will likely be a lot more fun for the whole table if executed properly.
Dungeons and Dragons is full great horror campaigns, and this is by no means a definitive list. However, each of these campaigns should appeal to a slightly different audience. There's still some time before Halloween, which means Dungeon Masters still have a few weeks to research or write some new campaigns. There are plenty of tips out there for first-time Dungeon Masters, and Halloween is a good time to give the game a go for those that never have.